New Statesman: Invoking Destiny, Circumventing History.

As the bombs rain on Gaza, the latest edition of the New Statesman magazine, Great Britain’s main weekly centre-left magazine, defined the Palestinian struggle against Zionist colonisation and aggression as a “conflict between two peoples destined to claim ownership of the same land.”

The editorial obviously doesn’t enunciate how and why it became the ‘destiny’ of Palestinians to have been ethnically cleansed from their land and killed in their thousands (i.e. “conflict”) in what was initially a British imperialist project. But the New Statesman’s editorial in November 1917 endorsing the Balfour Declaration certainly does shed an incredible dose of light on how this destiny materialised. (more…)

Libya: ‘Operation Dignity’ or a British and American proxy war?

During the first week of General Khalifa Hiftar’s so-called “Operation Dignity” in Libya ostensibly launched with the modus operandi to military rid the country of armed Islamist militias and to establish stability, it wasn’t too difficult to find some in the British media highlighting the General’s supposed proximity to American intelligence and specifically to the CIA.

‘Operation Dignity’ was launched on Friday 16th May, by the following Monday the Financial Times (FT) was informing its readers that after the General’s defection from the Libyan army a couple of decades ago, he moved to a Washington D.C suburb where “he is said to have cultivated contacts with Western agencies seeking to undermine” Colonel Muammar Ghadhaffi, the former leader of Libya.

On Tuesday 20th May, the FT once again reminded its readers that Hiftar “is believed to have links to the U.S.” On the same day the Guardian’s Middle East editor, Ian Black referred to him as a “US-linked figure”, while (more…)

Prince Charles: The Ceremonial Pimp of UK-Saudi Venality

Last Sunday, Februrary 23rd, the world witnessed the spectacular ceremonial finish to the Sochi winter Olympic games with dance, fireworks and customary pomp; on the preceding Tuesday the world clearly witnessed the ceremonial ending of a long running business saga with Prince Charles customarily dancing to the tune of the Saudi-Wahhabi clan. The first in line for the British crown dressed to the nines in traditional military regalia of the Saudi nepotistic despots, as he helped to seal another military deal which will healthily burnish the order book of Europe’s largest arms manufacturer, BAE Systems. The price for 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets was finally agreed to by the Saudi clan.

The deal, aptly and orwellianly named “Salam” (i.e. Peace), is worth £4.5 billion (equivalent to roughly $7.1 billion) and according to a report in the Times of London, is part of the notorious and corrupt £40 billion “Yamamah” (i.e. Dove) deal. Furthermore, the hundreds of millions of pounds newly “wringed” from the Saudi clan will underpin thousands of jobs in the North West of England “and around the British defence supply chain” added the Times.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT,) an organisation which monitors the arms industry, claimed that the United Kingdom sells (more…)

Why John Bull wants to invade and pillage your Nation.

In the first decade of this century, amidst the flames of the “War on Terror” which had hitherto taken in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the late president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez made a private visit to London to meet Ken Livingstone, the mayor. Two days earlier British Prime Minister, Tony Blair had lectured and rebuked Chavez and Evo Morales, Bolivian President on the need to use the resources of his oil rich country ‘responsibly’.

According to the Guardian, Blair “called on the Bolivian president, Evo Morales, and his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, to show some responsibility in the use of their energy resources.”

Responsibility is the act of being responsible and the Oxford English Dictionary defines “responsible” as “having an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone.”[i] On the other hand, what Blair actually meant by “responsibility” was not qualified or spelt out. If by chiding Chavez and Morales, Blair is arguing that the two South American leaders are using their respective countries wealth incorrectly, inappropriately and unwisely, what exactly was Blair’s prognosis? (more…)

After Obama, the UK needs to officially come clean on the 1953 Iranian coup d’état.

At the recent United Nations annual gathering of world leaders in September, President Barack Obama once again admitted to America’s role in the coup d’état which overthrew the government of the democratically elected Muhammad Mossadegh in 1953.  This is not the first time Obama has mentioned this sore and defining episode in American-Iranian relations. In his 2009 Cairo speech Obama was more explicit in laying out America’s involvement. He acknowledged that during “the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.”

The reason why Obama may have used the indefinite article, “a role”, in describing America’s involvement is largely because there was another external actor. If America had acted alone in overthrowing Mossadegh’s government (more…)

Why Margaret Thatcher hearted Islamists

Upon Margaret Thatcher’s death, her champions naturally eulogised her as a fighter for liberal democracy in Eastern Europe, while her detractors brought attention to the fact that she was highly supportive, even complimentary, of dictators and apartheid in the Global South such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Chile, Indonesia and South Africa as well as her assistance to the genocidal Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Overlooked in both scenarios is her support of political Islamism and by extension Jihadis. Here is Thatcher in December 1979, advocating a political Islam as a counterweight to left-wing or communist ideology which she derogatively dubbed “imported Marxism”:

“I do not believe that we should judge Islam by events in Iran…There is a tide of self-confidence and self-awareness in the Muslim world which preceded the Iranian revolution, and will outlast its present excesses. The West should recognise this with respect, (more…)

The Consequential Tony Benn

Tony Benn is a legend in his own time to many a politicos, especially those of us who are interested in anti-imperialist politics. He is admired by friend and foe alike as the fearless embodiment of the principled and quintessential British parliamentarian.

Over the last ten years his reputation as a peacenik and a radical left-winger was further consolidated by being the head of the UK’s main anti-war organisation, Stop the War Coalition (StWC) and with his continued patronage of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), Britain’s main pro-Palestinian organisation. Yet according to a recent article published on the Open Democracy website it seems that Benn has a particular past which brings his current status into question. According to the writer, Professor Colin Scindler, Benn used to write “uber-Zionist” articles for a pro-Israeli journal called, the ‘Jewish Vanguard’. This surely beggars the question who is the real Tony Benn in accordance with a ‘Chomskyite’ criteria. (more…)

Stop the War Coalition – Droning into Irrelevance?

Stop the War Coalition (StW), Britain’s main anti-war movement held an anniversary commemoration on the 9th February 2013.  It’s been more or less 10 years since over a million people marched in the UK’s capital to demonstrate against the UnitedStates-UnitedKingdom build up to the war and invasion on Iraq.

One must commend and congratulate the organisers for possessing the foresight to hold this event. They began promoting it in late October/early November 2012. Their foresight was rewarded with a fantastic attendance of many hundreds and I presume this turnout inspired everyone who attended. The number of attendees solidly confirmed that there continues to be a strong impulse in the UK against mindless adventurism, imperialist war and international brigandry.

However, the main problem with the event was the (more…)

Why the United States must Reject British Foreign Policy in Syria.

One of the effects of the Obama presidency is that it has turned international warmongering on its head. The script, has been somewhat flipped. During the George W. Bush era there was very little doubt who was perceived to be leading the mindless, breast-beating clamour for war. What is now clear and impossible to avoid is that the United Kingdom is assuming the lead in calling for more Western intervention in the Middle East. As such and like Libya, the British have been leading the calls for a United States led intervention in Syria.[1]

In an interview with the historian Niall Ferguson, David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, declared his “frustration” at the lack of interest in intervening in Syria. He had similarly declared his frustration when it did not seem the British were going to be granted an intervention in Libya.[2]

Since Obama’s re-election Cameron has raised the verbal stakes in advocating intervention in Syria. Firstly, on the day of Obama’s historic re-election and on the back of peddling weapons to the Persian Gulf despots (more…)

An Introduction to the case for reparations for Palestine.

The land of Lord Balfour hosted a rare but much needed conference on his infamous 1917 declaration. The event was convened by the appropriately named organisation, the Palestine Return Centre (PRC) on the 19th January 2013 in London. The aim of the meeting was to inaugurate a campaign for British “mistakes” and to “make reparations to Palestinians who endured human rights abuses at British hands.” 

It is rare because not only is the ‘Balfour Declaration’ and its brutal ramifications greatly understudied but the entire period of British total military and political dominance of the Middle East between 1917 and 1948 is more or less whitewashed from contemporary discussion. Yet, if we are to fully understand today’s Middle East there is probably no more an important period than this.

The declaration let it be known Britain’s “view with favour” the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine (more…)